Airlines like Delta handout little snack bags of peanuts and pretzels. We come to expect this. What I wasn't expecting however, was the marketing message from the Hilton Garden Inn on the bag: "Snooze Control - Our Adjustable Beds Await You."
Hmmm...when did they start advertising on peanut bags? The more I thought about it the more it made sense. People who travel on airplanes often stay in hotels. Why not put your message in front of your target audience when they're (actively) traveling?
Reflecting back on this experience, I recall what Capt. Nathan Broshear of the U.S. Air Force said at IMS 2010 in Boston: "The most effective marketing is done communicating where the action is."
Just in Time Marketing is Where the Action is
How much more effective would our marketing be if it were done where the action is? Just in time marketing is engaging and communicating where and when the action is taking place. Just in time marketing is being able to communicate a solution just when your ideal customer needs it the most - based on their activity.
I was travel weary - and hungry. Took a bus from UMass Boston to the Marriott Courtyard Hotel in Foxborough. As I walked into the front lobby around 7:30 PM I wondered, "Does anyone deliver pizza to this hotel?"
Checked in. Got my room key. And my question was immediately answered in the form of an offer, right on my room's key card from Domino's: "We'll Deliver Our New Inspired Pizza To Your Room."
Hmmm...when did they start advertising pizza delivery on hotel room key cards? I don't know, but sure glad they did. Someone was pretty smart to figure out the activity and needs of a segment of their customers: Travelers to hotels that don't serve dinner at their restaurant.
This just in (the nick of) time marketing has got me thinking. I get the pop-up message from HP saying I should consider ordering a new image drum when I'm printing. How much more effective would it be if, in the pop-up message, they could actually provide a nice discount code to an order link?
David Meerman Scott has come out with a new book, Real-Time Marketing & PR. I've heard him speak a couple of times on it. This concept of real-time to me is the same or very similar to just in time marketing. The fact is we live in a now world. And, as David exhorts, "Speed and agility are direct marketing advantages." We must adjust our marketing mindset to think in terms of acting and reacting in the here and now - like our hair's on fire. Where the action is. As it's happening - not after. If we don't we may not get a second chance. Take the opportunity to define in real-time what's happening now and what it means to your market. Then get with it, just in time to capture their attention!
Where's Your B2B Just in Time Marketing Action?
What can we apply from these peanut bag and key card marketing examples to the B2B inbound marketing world?
First, it's about identifying your buyer persona segments. Where are they? What are they doing or what action has taken place that may make them receptive to engagement? Can we anticipate or predict buying behavior based on the experiences of current customers? How can we be in the path of where their action is now, or where they're headed?
Secondly, what's the engagement look like? What kind of message, relationship or offer best aligns with this segments problem, need or situational activity?
So many questions. Yet so much opportunity for someone to get creative with some just in time marketing!
David Meerman Scott shared a link in his comments to how one B2B company, Eloqua responded to news about an acquisition in real-time to help frame the discussion around what the announcement meant. In doing so, they became more visible and consideration for their solution increased in the marketplace. Click the following link to read David's post about it: Real-time blog post gets Eloqua CEO tons of B2B ink. And here is the link to the original blog post by Eloqua CEO, Joe Payne: Oracle joins the party.
What's your idea? Where's your opportunity for real-time / just in time marketing?
It irks me when I get offered new customer discounts - as an existing customer. About once every few months I see the promotional wrapper on my local paper offering an exclusive discount for New Subscribers Only. Hello? I mean isn't it rather obvious you can't sign up a new customer at an existing customer's address?
And what about me, the loyal subscriber? Someone who has put up with missed deliveries, papers thrown where even the dog can retrieve them and ones sacrificed to the sprinkler gods. Where's my deal?
I have a theory of how to spot a company that gives crappy service and looses existing customers at alarming rates. Just look for the companies giving discounts with the "offer applies only to new customers" lingo.The deeper the discount, the worse their customer service - and rate of retention.
I get it that newspapers, cable companies and movie rentals, etc., all want new customers. Generating new business is a must. But not at the expense of pissing off your loyal, existing customers. Give them great deals too.
Like my hair stylist I've been going to for over a year now. The rate card posted for a haircut at her station is significantly higher than what she charges me. Makes me feel like my business is appreciated. Makes it easy for me to keep coming back. What's the value of retaining your customers?
- They come back
- They spend more money
- They tell others to do business with you
My gardner hasn't increased his price since he started servicing our yard 5 years ago. He sometimes misses a week. I don't care. He replaces busted sprinklers without being asked. Seems like a special deal to me. He keeps this up and I'll never fire him. I pay him extra from time to time. I tell others about him. He gets more new business. We have a good thing going.
Sure, offer incentives for new business. But don't forget to give your customers your best deals too.
"Companies need to flip-flop the way they do business. Give your best deals to existing customers." David Meerman Scott and Brian Halligan, Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead
What might this mean to how you do business?